Yes, God is an easy target. Why is that?
Have you ever seen a Dad deliver a crushing knock out blow to his little daughter, and your first thought is: What a great Dad…?
You haven’t, of course, because that would be an absolute contradiction, but not necessarily because it is horrific and absurd. Yes, we have a very clear picture of the role of a father, especially concerning how they should treat their children. The sense, and consensus, for such absurd contradictions like this are typically retained between all people, even between cultures across all time. But, it’s absurdities like this which are leveled against God regularly. And, it can seem that there are no good responses, at times.
For a stark example, I’d like to consider this one: that mothers and fathers are now being commended for giving consent to, or even being left out altogether from, their sons’ and daughters’ counseling to receive “gender affirming,” or “reproductive health” surgeries and drugs. Is it absurd to say this is a direct contradiction to the literal functional design of the people God made, i.e., that functional design by God is implicitly the target of such terms? Or is it the terms themselves that are absurd, composed of such obvious contradictions as to be oxymoronic? The absurdity we find here is how we as a civilization distance ourselves through mere language manipulation from outcomes now thought of as undesirable. In the cases above, those undesirable outcomes would be “misgendering” and “unwanted pregnancy.” As evidenced by such terms, there are more and more acceptable outcomes that were at once considered absurd, and now are not.
When we aren’t satisfied with good things from God, we have a choice. Accept the truth, or create a contradiction. But why, then, does God not come to the rescue and correct such errors, or why don’t his people that believe in him seem to have any Earth shattering responses to inject wisdom into the situation? The bottom line for some is to say he isn’t there at all, or he isn’t relevant. The absurdity here should be very plain to see, though. God allows for people’s error because they are people, not pawns.
It is people who play chess with the lives of other people, not God.
Now, about his people, why did God choose faith over strength, to save people from their error? At the same time some condemn God for his inaction, they will decry (or censor) the mere speech of his followers declaring that God was not joking about sexual immortality, or the death culture it has cultivated. So, if his people aren’t allowed to take a stand, why would God be? Is the suggestion that God isn’t strong, or true, if he doesn’t stop, by force, the abortion or sexualization of children? No, God chose faith over force, for both himself and his people, because force, like censorship and unjust coercion, is immoral. He also chose faith because it’s easy. It’s as easy as a thought, but it will always yield obedience rather than grumbling.
Grumbling is the word that is found in the Bible when a certain people think they know better than God. And of late, obedience, or assent and commitment to God’s wisdom, has been attacked and reviled in our present culture, especially when it comes to its relationship to the word “freedom.” Our culture has now focused on the dubious practice of redefining, or manufacturing, words that contradict the practice of obedience. Here it needs to be said that the true definition of freedom is the ability to obey God, to understand and then operate within, the truth. The alternate definition of freedom, the one most people prefer, has become: One’s facility to operate without the rules of consequence, or in other words, to do what you want to do without limits on oneself. This, however, is the very essence of the word grumbling, to argue whether one is being treated “fairly.” This has become the dividing line between fairness and actual truth. How is it that obedience to God, the clearly intentional denial of one’s desires for what God desires for you, could be defined as true freedom?
Your take on absurdity probably depends on what you think is the actual enslaver of men’s souls.
Is it autonomy from God, or is it assent to his authority that is enslaving? In other words, should we obey God, or not? Giving God your heart would seem so at first blush, as it literally means giving him control over your mind and members. But, what of keeping your heart, your will, for yourself? The question becomes, who has mastered their own heart in matters of desire, and fairness? This is what people imply who would deny they need God, and instead consider his control over their actions to be confining instead of freeing. Isn’t this the final absurdity, though? To label self-control, or really, God-controlled behavior, as unfairness, while simultaneously maligning, even erasing God? And that because of his restraint from controlling us? If God-controlled living is unfair, aren’t we asking that God both control people, and not control people? This is the pinnacle of all contradictions, isn’t it? Being free, then, has nothing to do with autonomy from God, but freedom from our own weakness, from our own lack of restraint.
People can’t control their own desires, only God can do that.
Give God control. Such an easy target. Of course giving up my autonomy, my free will, to a distant, unknowable, possibly malevolent being is utterly absurd. This is why God is an easy target, and, when you were young and unwise, your father here on Earth was such an easy target for our senses of fairness and rights. Why wouldn’t a good Daddy provide for an endless supply of candy for his child, if that’s what his child wants? Such a question, for adults, answers itself. But, adults are not largely what our world is populated with, anymore.
Adult: A seeker of truth at the cost of their own comfort, for the sake of the better good of others. This is the kind of father that we should want to obey.
Our minds, hearts, and desires make it very easy for us to erase God and supplant him with our “truth.” It is then the pinnacle of caution that we should take against our intrinsic tendency to simply defer our choices to comfort or utility (read desirability) over careful regard for our elders’ and ancestors’ guidance. A good father cares for his children, and their choices are guided by the consequences they themselves have experienced, or might have experienced, but which they would not wish for their children. We know this as adults, but the temptation to be “more adult” than the deep history and wisdom we’ve received from the ages is arguably the most destructive fault in the heart of humanity. To then let yourself feel good about stepping over the fatherly advice of the ages we’ve received should be regarded as the true definition of self-deception. It is God that bears the brunt of this slow deterioration of conscience as we defer to our sensibilities, ignoring the most obvious lesson from history about ourselves. We’re more likely childish in our thinking than we will admit, so this should be the very first consideration when ferreting out error, rather than — as is our deepest inclination — the last.
Who does this, though? Practically no one. We’re so pleased with ourselves when we can find a way to operate outside of the confines of the advice of others, especially when most of that “advice” in this divisive time is controlling, coercive, and abusive. Justification for not listening to any of what our opponents have to say comes naturally. This is in no way to say that resisting actual abuse and manipulation is not an absolute necessity, but that we will identify simply anything we don’t like as abusive and manipulative if it makes ignoring advice, even from God himself, seem prudent. This is the pervasive error of our time, exacerbated by the incessant self-congratulatory echo chamber of our device feeds. Perhaps this article just scratches the surface of this problem, but it is a large, pervasive problem, and almost no one is facing it head on. When we do, we find that the inevitable holy grail of civil discourse was sitting at the table we had abandoned for our pet opinions we once indulged as truth. It is a fine line between the search for “personal truth” and the search for actual truth. It’s so hard to see. But if we start with targeting our enemies, perceived or real, we miss what the real target should be, our own capacity for self-delusion.
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